TOKYO, March 23 (Reuters) – Key TOCOM rubber futures fell to a two-week low early on Friday, hurt by a strengthening yen after China’s factory activity data showed a slowdown, with investors accelerating moves to liquidate contracts ahead of week-end.
* The key Tokyo Commodity Exchange rubber contract for August delivery <0#2JRU:> was changing hands down 3.4 yen, or 1 percent, at 328.5 yen per kg as of 0030GMT. The benchmark contract fell as low as 327.6 yen, the lowest since March 9.
* Factory activity in China, one of the biggest engines of global oil demand growth, shrank in March for a fifth straight month, with the rate of contraction accelerating and new orders sinking to a four-month low.
* The yen was last traded at 82.629 to the dollar after hitting a one-week high of 82.329 on Thursday, well off an 11-month low of 84.187 on March 15.
* Japan’s Nikkei share average fell 1.1 percent in early trade.
* Oil fell 1 percent in light activity on Thursday, dragged down by manufacturing data from China and the euro zone showing a drop in new orders.
* The following data is expected on Friday: – 1400 U.S. New Home Sales Feb – 1930 U.S.CFTC commitment of traders data Weekly (Reporting by Yuko Inoue; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)
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